"Fuck, it's cold," Ed announced to the camp at large, rubbing his hands together in an effort to warm his human fingers. It was an old habit that he really should have grown out of by now; the cold metal did nothing to help heat his other hand.
The chill of winter still hung in the air, even though it was technically now spring. It was a grey morning, damp and biting and all together, kind of shitty. Ed shuffled his way from his tent over to the campfire, though he wasn't quite sure you could still call it that. They should maybe add some more kindling or something. He went to do so, and realized they were running pretty low.
"Hey, anybody notice we've got no firewood?"
Greed turned his head and raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. As if Ed would expect him to do anything to help out anyway. Heinkle stretched his back and yawned as he stood outside his own tent. Darius stayed sitting on the fallen log he'd dragged over to the center of camp, scraping his fork against the inside of a tin can.
"Why don't you go get some then?" Darius said as he carefully gathered the last of his breakfast onto his fork. "We're not your damn servants, you know."
"No, but I wasn't the last one to stoke the fire. One of you must have noticed the wood was low last night. I'm just sayin'."
"We got it, kid." Heinkle nodded his head toward the forest's edge.
Darius sighed and stood up. "Guess we're going in after all."
Ed would have gone himself after he'd eaten, but he wasn't about to stop them from going. Mucking through the brush when it was cold and wet sucked. If he was lucky, maybe he could curl back up in his tent and try for some sleep. The two older men hunkered off as Ed rummaged the supply sacks for some food. There were some cans of tinned beef and pea soup - and some more cans of tinned beef and pea soup. Damn it, he was really fucking tired of eating this shit already.
Ed clapped his hands tiredly and transmuted the can open, plopping down on Darius' log and setting in on his breakfast with a dubiously clean fork. The meat was mushy and indiscernible from the soup portion. It was just a can of brownish, goopy crap. Man, he hated this stuff.
"E-ed!" Ling called from across the clearing. He knew this was Ling because of the way he accented his name, and the sing song way in which he called it. Greed hardly ever used Ed's name unless he was fucking with him.
Ling pranced over, his jacket and shirt unbuttoned. Yep, this was Ling all right. As of late, Ed could now add the gratuitous unbuttoning of Ling's shirt and jacket to the list of ways he could tell the prince was in control. It was almost as if Ling did it to annoy Greed: they were forever adjusting their clothes each time they switched places, like some sick game.
The prince collapsed onto his knees in front of Ed, resting his elbows on Ed's knees and propping his chin in his hands. He had that dopey look on his face, the one that meant he was trying to charm him for something. Ed had his suspicions.
"What?" Ed repeated tersely.
"Nothing. I'm just hungry is all."
Ed brushed Ling's elbows off of his own knees. He'd been getting really comfortable with Ed's person lately. "Then get some food." He could already see where this was going, and he was already mad at himself for even thinking of caving.
"You know I'm no good with the can things. Can't I have some of yours?"
Ed was entirely too tired and grumpy to bother arguing, so he just held out the can with his fork sticking out the top for Ling to take. Ling's face lit up and he snatched it away quickly. Then he bounced his way over to sit on the log next to Ed. As in, right next to him, legs touching Ed's and elbow brushing against Ed's ribs.
Ed elbowed him. "Move over, you dork, there's plenty of log for sitting."
Ling ignored him, fully engaging himself with Ed's breakfast. Ed breathed out a growl and scooted away a bit, giving himself some room. Ling immediately slid right back next to him, not even pausing to look up as he stuffed his face. He sucked down the entire can before Ed could protest. Oh well, there were more cans in the sack. Ed could grab another one later when Greed was back, though it always seemed like Ling found his way to the forefront when food was involved. He was like he was a stray cat or something, hiding in the shadows until someone brought food out the back door. Ling set the empty can down on the ground and leaned into Ed.
"Oi, Ling, what's with all this hanging on me lately?" Ed elbowed him again. "It's annoying."
"What?" Ling asked, seemingly oblivious. Like Ed was going to believe that. Once again, Ling's motivations were pretty transparent. Or was Ed spending too much time with him that he could read him so well? Ed wasn't entirely sure how he felt about any of that.
"You. Touching me. Sitting on top of me. What's the deal?"
Ling went quiet for a minute. Ed took this opportunity to observe him. Ling leaned back on the log and looked out into the middle distance, putting his hands behind him on the seat for support. The breadth of Ling's chest was wider now, more defined. He'd definitely filled out a lot more, despite the often slim pickings they managed for food. It was a much better look on him that when he'd been all tall and gangly like when they'd first met. He definitely looked older, stronger. Greed had changed him too. Even when he was himself, he seemed more intense, more cunning. Ling had always been planning something from the first day they met, but it was even more apparent now. It was interesting to see how one face could wear such different expressions. He kind of preferred Ling's stupid face though. Greed sort of gave him the creeps sometimes.
Ling broke the silence abruptly, causing Ed to jump a little. He'd sort of gotten lost in his own thoughts while Ling had gotten lost in his own. Ling said quietly, "I guess I just like feeling things for myself."
Ling was in a serious mood all of a sudden. Ed listened, curious.
"When I'm forced to sit and watch from the corners of my own mind, I find myself missing things. Like the way the morning breeze feels against my face, or the warmth of another human." He turned his face to look at Ed, chin tilted down toward his chest. "I guess I get lonely." Ling offered a weak smile.
Ed felt his chest tighten a little. He almost felt guilty for asking about it now. He wasn't sure why, though. Maybe it was because of how private the answer had felt, like it was something Ed wasn't supposed to find out about? Except he had, and now it felt weird. Really weird.
With the chimeras gone, it was just the two of them at the campsite. Even though those two never spoke much, it was oddly quiet now. The awkward quietness could possibly have something to do with the fact that it meant that Ed and Ling were alone together. Maybe. Not that them being alone in the woods together meant anything, but still. There was no one here to, ah, stop them from being alone together - except maybe Greed, though Ed suspected Greed was enjoying the show. Not that there was anything happening here.
"Like what you see?"
Huh? Ed just looked at him dumbly, a witty retort just out of his reach so early in the day.
"You're staring - but I don't mind." Ling smiled secretively and bumped his shoulder into Ed's.
"I am not." He might have been, but it was more of a spacing out stare than an intentional stare. He was only looking at Ling because it was interesting to look at him and see all the changes. Hell, they had both changed a lot these past few months, and Ed could appreciate that. You didn't go through everything they had without coming out a different person. He was still the same Ling, though. Ed was really too tired to be giving any of this much thought.
"Like I said, you can if you want to. It doesn't bother me."
Right. Despite himself, Ed discovered he was now carefully examining Ling's face. They were sitting close, and Ling had turned his shoulders a bit to face him. He was smiling at Ed, dark, slanted eyes watching him curiously. A strand of Ling's hair was sticking out from the rest, caught by Ling's eyebrow. Ed went to push it back, then stopped himself. "Fix your hair, idiot. It's gotta be poking you right in the eye."
Ling didn't fix his hair. Instead, Ling smiled coyly and then leaned in to kiss him. Wait a minute here.
It started with Ling's lips simply pressed up against Ed's. Well, of course it did. That was how kisses sort of went, but this was, well, a bit surprising. Ed pulled back immediately, but the twit reached up and grabbed hold of Ed's face, holding him in place so that Ling could kiss him again. Ed wondered why he didn't just punch him. Maybe it was the whole too-tired-and-caught-off-guard thing. Still, they were sitting here, faces connected by dry, chapped lips - and Ling's hands holding them together. That detail was not to be forgotten. That Ed could have easily dislodged himself somehow was.
Ling sucked against Ed's lips, pulling the bottom one in between his teeth. He didn't bite it, just pulled it through gently. It made Ed all tingly up and down his spine. When he was done, Ling pulled back just enough to look Ed in the eye. He was smiling like a big doofus.
"What was that for?" Ed asked. Ling's hands were still holding his face. Ed was still not removing them. He had a sinking feeling that he knew the reason why. He ignored the tension low in his gut.
Ling opened his mouth to answer him, then just breathed out through his nose and leaned forward again. This time, Ed kissed him back. First, he just pressed back against Ling, mirroring the first kiss, but then Ed parted his lips a bit and tilted his head to the side. Ling's hands slid down to Ed's shoulders, and then Ed's hands found their way into Ling's hair. He cupped the back of Ling's head and pulled him in closer, deeper. Ling surprised him again by invading Ed's mouth with his tongue.
Ed had not expected to end up tasting his stolen breakfast on Ling's tongue, that's for damn sure, but now he was, and the salty taste of tinned beef was not nearly as off putting as he might have imagined it to be. Not that he'd ever sat there and imagined this. He would think more about this later. He flicked his own tongue against Ling's and realized, sort of embarrassingly, that he was actually enjoying this quite a bit. Like, a lot. Things were getting a little cramped down in his pants, but he wasn't about to bring attention to that just yet - or at all. Kissing Ling was enough to try and process for the time being.
Ed ran his flesh thumb over Ling's jawbone, then sucked a deep breath in through his nose. Then he decided that he should be more in control of things and pushed his tongue into Ling's mouth. Ling moaned a little under his breath. Then he moved his whole body closer to Ed, and Ed found himself turning his hips to open up more of his chest to Ling. He found it interesting how your brain was sort of programmed for this already. He hadn't exactly been doing a whole lot of making out on this journey, before or after the whole Briggs thing.
"We're just going to leave this here for now," Darius announced flatly. Ed whipped around to catch the pair of them heading back on their path and leaving again. There was a new pile of kindling at the borders of camp. Damn.
"You know, if we bought you a razor, I might enjoy this more."
Great, just great. "Screw you, Greed."
"The stubble is cute, but not really my thing."
"Wouldn't want to scratch your baby face, now would I?" First Donkey Kong and Lion King were interrupting - whatever it was that was just happening, and now Greed was butting in too. Fucking great, now he'd never hear the end of it.
Greed seemed to read some of Ed's thoughts. "The kid let his guard down, so I took over. No need to get upset about it."
Greed laughed. "I bet you'd like to." Ed made to hit him, but Greed merely raised his hand and flashed that damn smile of his. "Now, I gotta know: is this gonna be an ongoing thing? 'Cause I'm not too sure how I feel about it. I mean, it's interesting and all, but I'd much rather go into town and grab some chicks if you know what I mean."
Ed ignored him and got up from the fallen log, angrily setting about getting himself another can of crappy tinned beef for breakfast. Camping sucked.